Core-i7 870 New Desktop Build *HELP*


Aug 7, 2010
After several days of researching online for selecting the most value-oriented and award winning system parts, I have came up with following specification. This system is replacing my five years old SONY desktop VGC-RC110G, which had Pentium D 830 3Ghz processor.

Since this is my first time building a desktop computer, I would need some help from experienced and tech savvy people here in Tom's Hardware. Before I list system parts I have selected, I want to let you know that this system is for playing 3 games. They are Starcraft 2, World of Warcraft, and Diablo 3(not released yet). From what I know these games are more CPU based rather than GPU. I will not play any other games besides these 3 games.

To get started, here is the list of system parts I have selected

CPU: Intel Core-i7 870 (only $20 more for me over i7-860)
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-P55-USB3
Case: COOLER MASTER RC-692-KKN2 CM690 II Advanced Black
PSU: CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-650HX 650W Modular SLI Ready, Single +12V Rail
GPU: SAPPHIRE 100283L Radeon HD 5770 (Juniper XT) 1GB 128-bit GDDR5
Hard-drive: WD Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA
Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB(2x4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM 1333 (PC3 10666)
Optical Drive: ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium
Thermal Compounder

When selecting these parts, here are the things I have accounted for.

-CPU was the hardest part to decide between i5-750, i7-860, i7-920. LG1366 socket based X58 platform of i7-920 is probably more future proof than LG1156. X58 boards triple channel memory setup is probably better than dual channel memory setup. But I will probably not be in a need of Intel's new processors that will be released over the next four years, and I can always overclock my i7-860 if I am in need of more power. For the memory channel setup, most applications today do not even use 8GB of memory, and maximum of 16GB dual channel setup will probably be safe for at least four years. Triple channel setup only slightly performs better than dual channel setup. From what I know, triple channel memory setup will probably shine when 6 core+ processors come in and not quad.
-Motherboard: This board tops all reviews out of all P55 based motherboards. Very nice overclocking option, price, power-consumption, released in 2010, support for USB3.0 and SATA, nice lay out. The board only has single PCI-Ex16 slot for graphics card, and that's good because I am not planning on setting up SLI/CFX with multiple graphics cards. Single powerful card will probably be more than enough to play those games I listed above. Asus was my next choice but its expressgate seems to be useless and Asus is more power consuming.
-Case: I like its spacious design and support upto 10 fans and possible liquid cooling, black colored inside, tooless design, PSU goes on bottom. Only other case that I was consider getting was Antec's Nine Hundred 2, but it looked kinda cheap to me, and I do not like top fan sticking out and all these cray blue neon lights(you can turn them off).
-GPU: HD 5770 fully supports DirectX 11. Sapphire HD 5770 had best reviews and performance out of all other HD 5770.
-Memory: Even though 4GB would be sufficient for now, I will probably be upgrading the memory in the future, so I plan put 2x4GB memory instead of 4x2GB, so I will have extra 2 more slots to put in additional 2x4GB to total 16GB(I will probably never need that much but just in case)
-Hard-drive: WD Black seems to be one of the fastest to be OS drive(not considering SSD)
-PSU:I chose modular PSU so I don't have unused cables taking space in my case. Corsair power supplies seems to be the best manufacturer for PSU according to the reviews I have been reading.

I would really appreciate if you can comment on any of my thoughts and decisions on selecting parts. Let me know where I can improve, and advise me things that I'm not aware of. Here are some questions that I like to get answers from anyone who knows.

1) For the memory, I am putting in 2x4GB and leave 2 slots empty for later upgrade. Is this possible or is 4x2GB the only way to go if I want total of 8GB? Let's say memory slots are numbered 1,2,3,4 in order. If only 2 memories were to go in, do they go into slot 1,2 or 1,3?

2) I am not doing SLI/CFX, but I might be replacing HD 5770 with a more powerful video card in the future. What would be the most approriate PSU total wattage for my setup? (In general that is. I'm aware that single 12V rail amp is more important than total wattage)

3) Is my PSU gonna perfectly fit into my case? Am I getting the right size PSU for my case? Is any of my parts not compatible with other parts I selected?

4) I have listed everything I'm getting for building up my system including thermal compounder. Am I missing anything to build the system? (case already comes with cooling fans, and CPU stock fan will probably be fine for now because I won't be overclocking for now)

I would really appreciate your serious comments and advice, and I want to say thank you in advance for those who contribute. :D


May 12, 2009
I would still advise getting i5-760 and a GTX460 or 5850 over i7-870 and 5770.

The memory would go in slots 1 and 3 (if you are buying two sticks, 4GB each).

The PSU will handle future upgrades.



Oct 17, 2009

Isn't the i7-870 the same price as the i7-860 on newegg? I agree that a really powerful Lynnfield processor like the i7-870 will be plenty of processing power for a good few years.

All motherboards have SATA. Which SATA variant do you want?
MSI make very good P55 motherboards and arguably have one of the best auto-overclocking functions available: OC Genie. Have you looked at MSI boards?

I believe the HDD you were looking for is this one Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB $95. Altho I don't believe it is worth the extra cost over a Samsung Spinpoint F3. Here is what I base this on:

Well the Antec 902 obviously isn't cheap, and neither is it low quality, but you can't criticize a man for his personal choice in most things and case is no exception. And the 690 II Advanced is a good case.

2)I believe that a good 650W PSU will be able to handle pretty much any single graphics card. As the PCI-E spec has a maximum of 300 watts, as the rest of the system is unlikely to draw 200 watts in total (unless you add a massive amount of harddrives) that totals ~500watts (maximum remember), that leaves 150 watts of headroom or 76% utilization. And that is a worst case scenario, IMO any graphics card you buy later will use much closer to 200 watts.

You could get any of these, which will save you some money:|17-371-021^17-371-021-TS%2C17-207-002^17-207-002-TS%2C17-207-007^17-207-007-TS%2C17-341-018^17-341-018-TS The OCZ ModXStream Pro 700W would be my last choice on that list and out of the five. The other three really are comparable in quality to the Corsair HX650.

3)Yes the PSU will fit. Everything looks compatible to me.

4)The stock heatsink has thermal compound preapplied, so you don't even really need to buy some separately. Except that you will have a tube that you can use at any point in the future. I can't see anything missing.

You keep saying 'reviews', what reviews are you referring to?


Aug 7, 2010

Thanks for your reply and advice.

I actually changed my mind and built myself a rig already with different spec as you can see in my sig. I noticed there is pretty much 0 difference in gaming experience for i7-870 and i7-930. Both system seems to be overkill for playing starcraft 2.

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